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Induction programs in Michigan

Purpose of this resource: This resource provides descriptions of two model induction programs in Michigan to illustrate how districts within the state have developed programs to retain and support beginning teachers.

How to use this resource: The descriptions below provide only a general overview. You and your colleagues should contact the relevant districts for further information. In particular, you may want further information on how the districts fund and evaluate their respective programs.

The New Teacher Induction Program, Port Huron Area Schools, Port Huron, Michigan

District personnel developed the district’s induction program in conjunction with the Port Huron Education Association, the area’s teachers’ association. The New Teacher Induction Program is non-evaluative and has three components aimed at helping new teachers learn about district procedures, policies and resources and to support them in becoming effective teachers for the district’s students.

Four-day orientation. Prior to the start of the school year, new teachers attend a four-day orientation. During the first day, new teachers get introduced to central office and building administrators and take a tour of the central office administration building. On subsequent days, the new teachers receive information about district policies and procedures, curriculum, special education procedures and programs, proactive classroom management and preparing for the first days and weeks of school.

Monthly seminars. New teachers attend monthly seminars throughout the school year. New teachers participate in the selection and prioritization of topics for the seminars during orientation. The seminars help new teachers meet Michigan’s professional development requirements for beginning teachers.

Building-level Support Teachers. All new teachers in the district are assigned a Support Teacher, or mentor. Support teachers are provided professional development two to three days each year. The Port Huron Education Association, in partnership with the district, supervises the Support Teacher component. Guidelines used to select Support Teachers include: building, grade level or subject area assignments, an expressed commitment to provide personal time and attention to the new teacher, evidence of professional dedication and enthusiasm and professional competence.

The Port Huron Area School District’s website is: http://www.port-huron.k12.mi.us

The Mentor Project, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Grand Rapids, Michigan

The district’s Mentor Project evolved out of its early efforts to create a “buddy system” of mentoring, its work with the Middle Cities Education Association’s New Teacher Academy and its involvement with the Michigan Education Association’s PATHWISE mentoring program. The Mentor Project contains the following elements.

Mentor Coordinators. The district has had from one to three Mentor Coordinators whose job it is to work with the district’s Mentor Committee to develop the mentoring program, to identify new teachers in the district, to assist principals in matching new teachers and mentors and to provide support for mentors through mentor training. The Coordinators also provide direct support for new (and other) teachers who need more intensive assistance than school-based mentors can provide.

The New Teacher Mentor Notebook. The New Teacher Mentor Notebook was created by the district’s Mentor Committee. It is based on the work of Charlotte Danielson and is aligned with the district’s teacher evaluation system. It provides both new and mentor teachers with resources to support their learning and professional development. The Notebook includes information and resources on such topics as curriculum assessment, maintaining positive student behavior, the child study process, teacher evaluation and instructional planning and preparation.

Teacher Support Series. Mentor coordinators design, facilitate and often present workshops to address the needs of new and tenured teachers. Workshop topics have included classroom management, curriculum alignment, professional evaluation, parent-teacher conferences and engaging the urban learner. The workshops meet the state requirements concerning professional development for new teachers.

Mentor training. The district provides mentor teachers with initial training that introduces them to the New Teacher Mentor Notebook and that includes information about the state law governing the mentoring of new teachers, the purpose of mentoring and the roles that mentors play. The district provides mentors further training through “Teachers Mentoring Teachers” workshops. These are two-hour workshops created by the Mentor Coordinators and intended to develop mentoring skills in such areas as classroom observation, conferencing and reflective questioning. In addition to these district-wide workshops, Mentor Coordinators are also available to provide schools and individual mentors with school-site workshops upon the request of the schools or the mentor teachers.

Mentoring in the GREA/GRPS Contract. Language was included in the 2001 GREA/GRPSS contract (see Article 23) that defined the purpose of the Mentor Project, established guidelines for mentor selection, and expectations, administrative support and compensation for mentor teachers. The contract establishes two visitation days each year that can be used for mentoring activities and allows for the use of collaborative planning time, required staff development time and School Improvement Planning time to be used for mentoring when appropriate. Participants in the Mentor Project are encouraged to make their own time for mentoring by utilizing before- and after-school and planning times for reflective conferencing. The expectation is that mentors will spend a minimum of one hour every week with the beginning teacher in mentoring activities. The contract also allows mentors to request compensation for time spent on mentoring activities from school-based staff development budgets and/or to request compensatory time as a reimbursement. Mentor teachers may also elect to use the mentoring experience as a portion of their evaluation.

The Grand Rapids Public Schools’ website is: http://www.grps.k12.mi.us .